Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene’s office announced Friday that she is forming a new “America First” caucus, which will put together a group of far-right lawmakers known for their divisive rhetoric.
A flier supporting the new caucus obtained by Punchbowl News calls for a “shared reverence for distinctly Anglo-Saxon political values” and promotes a number of conspiracy theories regarding election legitimacy. The flier also laid out a nativist claim, warning that “mass immigration” threatens “America’s long-term existential future as a unique nation with a unique history and identity.”
Greene’s spokesperson, Nick Dyer, expressed displeasure with the initial draft of the flier being leaked, but told CNN in a statement that preparations were underway to shape the party, which would be “announced to the public very soon.”
Embattled Florida Republican Rep. Matt Gaetz, who is under federal investigation for alleged sex trafficking and prostitution, tweeted on Friday, “I’m honored to be a member of the #AmericaFirst Caucus alongside @mtgreenee. We will end wars, stop illegal immigration & promote trade that is fair to American workers. This is just a hit piece from the America Last crowd in Big Media, Big Tech & Big Government.”
Congressional caucuses are informal groups of legislators that work together to advance specific policy goals. Despite the fact that the organizations work outside of the formal legislative system of Congress, many have had success in shaping discourse and amplifying their common policy prescriptions.
Republican Reps. Paul Gosar of Arizona, Louie Gohmert of Texas, and Barry Moore of Alabama, who were confirmed to be interested in the caucus by Punchbowl News, have been contacted by CNN.
A spokesperson for Moore told CNN in a statement, “Congressman Moore wholeheartedly supports President Trump’s America First agenda and policies that prioritize hardworking Americans. He will not agree to join any caucus until he’s had an opportunity to research their platform, which he has not had the chance to do so with the America First Caucus and therefore has not joined.”
The politicians are notorious for being on the far right of the Republican Party, and their rhetoric is often crafted to grab attention. The rhetoric about preserving American identity and “uniquely Anglo-Saxon political values” ties into a poisonous claim with a racist history that immigrants are “replacing” Americans born in the country.
During a subcommittee hearing earlier this week, Republican Rep. Scott Perry of Pennsylvania made a similar statement about why refugees from Central American countries make up a disproportionate number of those crossing the US-Mexico border.
“For many Americans, what seems to be happening or what they believe right now is happening is what appears to them is we’re replacing national-born American — native-born Americans to permanently transform the political landscape of this very nation,” Perry said.
Similar remarks were made recently by Fox News anchor Tucker Carlson, highlighting how Republican politicians and right-wing media figures are repeating and actually legitimizing points made by White nationalists and nativists for years.
After news of her remarks encouraging political terror, claiming that the Parkland, Florida, school shooting was a “false flag” operation, and conspiratorial allegation that a space laser operated by Jewish financiers ignited a California wildfire in 2018, the House voted in February to exclude Greene, a freshman from Georgia, from her committee assignments.
She’s tried to make a name for herself as an outsider and a rabble-rouser, and she regularly uses parliamentary processes to slow down House floor business, much to her colleagues’ chagrin.
However, her strategies have helped her gain popularity on the far right, and her campaign just revealed this week that she had raised $3.2 million in her first three months in office, an incredible sum for a freshman member.
“Just as I was planning to take a long weekend away from madness, I see this,” GOP Rep. Adam Kinzinger of Illinois tweeted after learning of the new caucus on Wednesday.
“Completely disgusted,” he said.
“The Republican Party is the party of Lincoln & the party of more opportunities for all Americans—not nativist dog whistles,” House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, a California Republican, tweeted Friday afternoon.
In a tweet, GOP conference chair Liz Cheney, the No. 3 House Republican, referred to Greene’s reporting on the new caucus.
“Republicans believe in equal opportunity, freedom, and justice for all. We teach our children the values of tolerance, decency and moral courage,” she wrote. “Racism, nativism, and anti-Semitism are evil. History teaches we all have an obligation to confront & reject such malicious hate.”